Those of you who have read 'Timmy' will know a bit about some of Jeremy's friends, but one that we know almost nothing about is Miguel. So let's start this chapter by seeing how the weekend's events have affected him...
Until fairly recently Miguel would have said that the small tube on the front of his body was simply there for disposing of waste water: he never thought about it at all except when it was actually in use. But just recently things had changed: now it had developed the habit of going hard at awkward moments, usually when he was with friends who would no doubt laugh at him if they saw his shorts sticking out. So far he seemed to have escaped unnoticed, but he didn’t think his luck would last – and what would happen if he lost one of their header-and-volley games and had to undress in front of his friends, only to find that it had chosen that moment to misbehave? He thought he’d die of shame if anyone saw it sticking out.
He knew that it happened to other boys – after all, he’d seen boys at school with their shorts bearing witness to their condition – but he didn’t know why. Sometimes it happened without any reason at all: he’d be hard at work on a piece of homework and suddenly he’d be aware that it had gone hard. But sometimes…well, sometimes it had happened as it had on Saturday, when he’d been able to see Awais with nothing on. Looking at another boy’s equipment had made his own sit up and take notice. And he’d found it really exciting to be able to look at another boy like that, and he wanted to do it again.
Normally Miguel took no notice at all of the other boys in the changing room on games days, but since seeing Awais close up he’d decided to try to see what his form-mates looked like: were they bigger than he was? Did theirs stick out while they were getting changed? Did they have skin over the end, like he did, or had their skin been removed, like Awais’s?
Of course, he knew he would have to be discreet about it: if the other boys caught him peering at them, he thought they’d call him names, or maybe even hit him. The problem was that he didn’t want to risk being undressed while he was looking: if his own organ decided to go hard, as he thought it might, he wanted it properly covered up. That meant that he couldn’t risk taking a shower: he would have to get his own clothes on as quickly as possible and then try to watch the boys who were getting changed near him.
Unfortunately this was the cricket season. Miguel’s school, Inchley Manor, played rugby during the winter, and after a game of rugby everyone was so muddy that they had to take a shower. But nobody got muddy playing cricket, and so most of the boys didn’t take a shower at all; and since they kept their normal underwear on underneath their cricket trousers, Miguel thought he would have no opportunity to start his investigation this Monday afternoon. But he had forgotten about Shaw.
Andrew Shaw took his sport very seriously, and as a result he was good at most games, though his physique helped: he was a little taller than Miguel, and quite strong. He was captain of the rugby team, and he was good at cricket, too. And being serious about sport meant, as far as he was concerned, putting plenty of effort into it, and therefore it was always necessary to take a shower afterwards.
He finished removing his cricket kit, wrapped a towel round his waist, slipped off his pants under it and headed for the showers, and at that point Miguel, who had been getting changed quite quickly, decided that it would be a good idea to slow down. He took his shirt off again, put it back on very slowly, spent a couple of minutes tying his tie, packed his kit away, and untied and retied his shoelaces, and still Shaw hadn’t emerged from the shower.
Then Miguel had an idea. He took off his left shoe and removed the lace completely, and then bit halfway through it and pulled until it broke. When Shaw finally came back from the shower the changing room was almost empty: a couple of stragglers were still strolling towards the door, but almost everyone had gone – except for Miguel, who was sitting on the bench opposite Shaw’s peg and trying to re-thread a shoelace that had a knot tied in it.
“The string broke,” Miguel explained, showing Shaw the offending shoe.
“The lace,” corrected Shaw. “That’s called a lace, Àlvarez.”
“Oh. Thank you. So, the lace broke.”
Shaw grunted, turned his back and began rubbing his hair with the towel, and Miguel edged a little further along the bench to try to see better. After a bit Shaw put down the towel and picked up his underpants, starting to put them on, and Miguel, who had still not been able to see anything, craned his neck. And then Shaw, with his pants around his thighs, suddenly looked round and caught him.
“You’re trying to look!” he accused, pulling his pants the rest of the way up before Miguel could see.
“No, I… well… no!” stammered Miguel, trying hard, but unsuccessfully, to look innocent.
“Liar! You’ve gone all red – that proves you’re lying. You wait till I tell everyone about this… you’re going to be in so much trouble, Àlvarez.”
“No, please don’t… I mean, I was not trying…well…”
“Of course, maybe I won’t tell anyone, if you make it worth my while.”
“You want money? How much?” asked Miguel, convinced he was going to get beaten up by the whole form if Shaw spread the word.
“I don’t know yet. I’ll think about it while I’m getting changed. You can wait by the door – I don’t want you staring at me all the time.”
So Miguel went and sat down by the door. A couple of minutes later the games teacher came in to make sure that everyone had gone.
“Hurry up, Shaw,” he said. “I want to lock up. Àlvarez, you can wait for Shaw outside.”
Miguel went out, and a couple of minutes later Shaw appeared, still doing up his tie. His bag was slung over his shoulders.
“What time’s your bus home?” he asked.
Miguel shrugged. “They are every ten minutes, so it does not matter,” he replied.
“Good. Come with me.”
Games was the last thing on the Monday timetable, so they were now free to go home, but instead of heading for the bus stop outside school Miguel followed Shaw for about a quarter of a mile, leaving the main road and heading into the maze of residential streets that lay to the east of it. Eventually Shaw opened a gate and led him up the path to a detached house that lay back from the road in a garden surrounded by hedges and trees.
“Is this where you live?” asked Miguel. “You are lucky that you are this close to the school. You do not have to wait for buses in the rain.”
“I suppose not,” said Shaw, opening the door with a key. “Put your bag down by the door and come upstairs.”
Miguel followed him up to a bedroom that was a little bigger than his own. There were posters of various sports teams on the wall, but otherwise the only difference between this room and his own was the wash-basin in the corner, which Miguel immediately coveted: the idea of not having to wait for someone else to finish getting washed in the morning was very attractive.
“So,” said Shaw, plonking himself down on the bed, “what should I do about you? Of course, I could just beat you up myself,” and he pounded his right fist against his left palm, grinning at Miguel.
“…but I don’t really want to get blood on my carpet,” he went on, grinning even more. “So maybe the best way to punish you would be to do what you were trying to do to me.”
“What?” asked Miguel, looking puzzled.
“Well, you wanted to see me with nothing on – so instead, I’m going to look at you. Get undressed, Àlvarez.”
“No! No, you cannot!” said Miguel, shaking his head and backing away.
“Well, if you’d prefer me to tell everyone tomorrow about how you were trying to look at my balls, of course that’s up to you,” said Shaw, still smiling hugely.
Miguel felt trapped. He certainly didn’t want the whole class jumping on him, but he really didn’t want to have to undress, either, even though this was a private place where nobody could see him except Shaw.
“I don’t know, maybe once I’ve told everyone, they’ll think perhaps they should strip you bare and chase you round the playground,” suggested Shaw, raising an eyebrow at him. “On the other hand, if you take your own clothes off now, nobody else would have to find out about it.”
“You promise you will not tell?” asked Miguel, distrustfully.
“Well… okay, then.”
“Great! I mean… get on with it, then.”
Miguel undid his belt, but Shaw stopped him.
“No, do it properly, as if you were getting ready for bed,” he said. “Take your clothes off in the proper order, your pants last, and fold everything up on that chair.”
So Miguel started to undress, feeling strange: he’d never done this in front of an attentive audience before. Getting changed for games was nothing like this because there everyone was rushing to get changed at the same time, not leaning forward with an expectant look on their face, the way Shaw was sitting now.
Miguel removed his blazer, tie, shoes, socks, shirt and shorts, folding each item up neatly on the chair as he had been told. Then he hesitated.
“And those, or you’re in trouble tomorrow,” insisted Shaw.
So Miguel slipped his pants off, put them on the chair and then turned to face Shaw with his hands held over his groin.
“Come here,” ordered Shaw, and Miguel walked slowly towards him, keeping his hands in place.
He stopped right in front of Shaw, who reached out and took hold of Miguel’s wrists, and then pulled his hands away from what they were trying to hide. And straight away Miguel felt his little organ starting to twitch and harden, until within ten seconds it was sticking straight out in front of him, at an angle of about forty-five degrees above the horizontal. He blushed deeply and tried to pull his hands free, but Shaw was far too strong.
“It’s all hard,” said Shaw, giggling. “Not bad, Àlvarez. It looks nice like that.”
Miguel stopped struggling and looked down at his little throbbing willy. Shaw was staring at it in fascination, but he didn’t make any of the derogatory comments Miguel had expected. Suddenly he felt a lot better about the situation.
“Now you,” he said, pulling his wrists free and stepping back, though without trying to cover himself.
“Now you undress. Else I will tell the boys tomorrow that you made me take all my clothes off so you could look at me.”
“They wouldn’t believe you.”
“I think they will. I can say that you made me come to your house, and I can tell them what your room is like… if anyone has been in this room they will know it is the truth.”
Shaw thought about this briefly, but really he was quite keen to take things further, so he said, “Okay, then. But you have to promise not to tell anyone.”
“If you do not tell anyone, I will not.”
“That seems fair,” said Shaw. He stood up and took his clothes off, hanging the blazer up in his cupboard and piling the rest of his clothes on another chair, and when he was naked except for his watch and a small cross around his neck he turned to face Miguel and stood with his legs slightly apart and his hands at his side.
Like Miguel, he had an erection, which seemed to be around the same size as Miguel’s own, though Shaw’s balls seemed a bit bigger and dangled down, whereas Miguel’s nestled close to the base of his penis. They stared at each other, and Shaw advanced until they were only a couple of feet apart.
“We’re about the same size,” Shaw commented. “Mine sticks up a bit more than yours, though.”
“You have big balls,” said Miguel, staring at them.
Shaw went to his bag and found a ruler, which he held against his stiff penis so that Miguel could see it.
“Three inches,” he announced. “Now let’s see if you’re bigger or smaller.” And before Miguel could react Shaw took hold of his erection and held the ruler alongside it.
Miguel gasped: nobody had every touched him there before, and it felt really strange. The ruler was cold, and that felt strange, too, but he kept still and let Shaw take his measurement.
“Two inches and nine-tenths,” he announced. “So I’m bigger.”
“You are not measuring right,” complained Miguel, grabbing the ruler. “Let me try.”
He measured himself, but couldn’t squeeze that extra tenth of an inch out of it and had to agree with Shaw’s call of two point nine. But then he took hold of Shaw’s organ and held the ruler against it, and now it was Shaw’s turn to gasp, because this was a first for him, too.
“Two point eight,” declared Miguel, inaccurately. Shaw grabbed the ruler and they argued about it, but finally Miguel agreed that perhaps Shaw really was one-tenth of an inch longer.
“Perhaps I can make yours bigger,” suggested Shaw, and he took hold of Miguel’s erection properly and started to squeeze it and to stroke it gently. This felt even stranger, but it felt good as well, and Miguel made no attempt to pull away or to prevent Shaw from touching him.
“See if you can make mine bigger,” suggested Shaw, so Miguel took hold of him and started to do the same things. Shaw’s organ felt really interesting: it was warm and very hard, but the skin felt soft and silky.
They went on fondling each other for about five minutes, and then Shaw picked up the ruler and measured them both again, but the results were unchanged.
“Perhaps if I do that to you sometimes, it’ll help yours to grow,” he suggested. “What do you think?”
“I think it would be good,” said Miguel. “And I must help you to grow, too.”
“Great! That way we can help each other… can you think of anything else we could do, Àlvarez?”
“You should call me Miguel,” said Miguel. “We are doing things I have never done with anyone, so I think we should use first names now.”
“Okay. Then you can call me Andy. So, what shall we do now?”
But Miguel couldn’t think of anything: this was already way further than he had ever dreamed about going.
“Well, in that case I’m going to beat you up,” announced Shaw, and he grabbed Miguel and threw him onto the bed, jumping on top of him and trying to pin him down. Miguel struggled and tried to dislodge him, but Shaw was heavier and stronger, and so he stayed on top.
“Now I’m going to stab you to death,” declared Shaw, and he raised his body and drove his little dagger of flesh against Miguel’s body. Miguel giggled and tried to thrust his own erection against the other boy’s body, and for a while they wriggled about and rubbed their stiff little willies against each other.
“This is fun,” said Shaw, stopping for a breather, but without getting off Miguel’s body. “Do you want to do this again, Àlv… Miguel?”
Miguel nodded vigorously. “This is really good. I think we should do it again a lot.”
“So do I.” Shaw stood up and looked at his watch. “My mum will be home soon, so perhaps we’d better get dressed. But before we do, let’s swear to keep it a secret.”
He helped Miguel to his feet and then took his hand.
“Do you swear to keep everything we’ve done today secret?” he asked.
“Yes, I swear.”
“I swear, too.” He let go of Miguel’s hand. “Now let’s get dressed,” he said. “Last one ready gets beaten up.”
They ran to their respective chairs and started to throw their clothes on. Miguel would have won had it not been for the complete mess he made of knotting his tie, and by the time he had undone it and started again Shaw was already sitting on his chair and smirking at him.
“Looks like I’m going to have to beat you up,” he said. “But we’d better not do it now we’ve got our school clothes on in case we mess them up. I’ll have to beat you up next time you come round.”
“Okay,” said Miguel, delighted to receive this implicit invitation. “You can try to beat me up next time. But you will not succeed.”
“We’ll have to wait and see,” said Shaw, leading him back down the stairs.
Miguel said goodbye, picked up his bag and made his way back to the bus stop outside the school, thinking about what had happened. He hadn’t known it was possible to have so much fun with no clothes on…
At Mitchell’s School in Poundford Spa, Kam discovered that his usual lunchtime game of football wasn’t going to happen: when he reached the corner of the field where they usually played, all he found was Neil Carter, who usually supplied the ball they used, sitting on the wall looking fed up.
“I lost my ball yesterday afternoon,” he told Kam. “I went to see if I could nick one from the gym so we could play today, but it was locked. Some of the others have gone to see if they can find a ball somewhere, but it looks like we’re going to be unlucky.”
“I’ve got one I can bring in tomorrow,” Kam told him.
“Good. I suppose we can survive one day without playing.”
Like Kam, Neil was an enthusiastic footballer: during the football season he played for a club side every Sunday morning, and he found the period between the Cup Final in May and the start of the new season in late August extremely boring.
Kam sat down next to him on the wall, deciding to wait for a few minutes just in case one of the others found a ball somewhere.
“So,” said Neil, “did you do anything interesting at the weekend?”
“Not much. Watched telly yesterday. Kicked a ball about with my mates on Saturday. Oh, and laughed at my kid brother – he had to streak round the car park we play in. Twice, in fact.”
So Kam explained how Awais had twice lost the headers and volleys game and so been obliged to run the length of the car park and back naked.
“Didn’t he try to get out of it?” asked Neil.
“No. He’s good like that – if he loses a bet or something, he always keeps his word. Okay, he can be an annoying little git sometimes, but I’d have to admit he’s a good sport.”
“And would you have done it if you’d lost?”
“I expect so. I wouldn’t have lost, though – I’m too classy.”
“I don’t think I could have done that.”
“Why not? We’re all mates, and it isn’t like there are any girls around, or anything.”
“Yeah, but… taking all your clothes off in public? I’d die of shame.”
“Why? Is there something wrong with you?”
“No, of course not. I’m just… well, shy about getting undressed. That’s why I wear my swimming trunks in the shower – I’d hate to have people looking at me with nothing on.”
“I can’t really see why, if there’s nothing wrong with you. I bet it’s ‘cos you haven’t got any balls, or something.”
“Of course it isn’t! I just don’t want people looking at them, that’s all. And I bet you wouldn’t really do it if you lost that game, too.”
“I reckon I would. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve got, like you are.”
“I’m not ashamed. It’s just…well…”
“Yeah, I know, you just don’t want anyone to find out that you haven’t got any nuts!”
“Okay, okay, just kidding. It’s a pity, though – it’d be good if you could come and have a kick-about with us sometime. We could do with a couple more players, and you’re pretty good. With you and me on the same team we’d never lose.”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind coming to play,” said Neil, who was suffering from his usual mid-June football withdrawal symptoms. “As long as nobody expects me to streak, that is.”
“Yes, but that’s the problem: we do play that game sometimes, and if you lost you’d have to do it – I’m not having them all have a go at me for bringing a chicken along to play. Of course, you’re probably too good to lose, like me, but… no, I’d better not take the risk.”
Neil was silent as he tried to weigh up the chance of some out-of-season football against the risk of having to undress in public. Even if it was only a small risk, he didn’t think he could chance it.
“Look,” said Kam, who could see him wavering, “why don’t you practise by getting undressed in front of me, somewhere private? That way you can prove that there’s nothing wrong with you, and you can get used to the idea of being undressed, just in case? Like I said, probably you wouldn’t have to do it in front of the others, but if you’d done it once in front of me, at least it wouldn’t be the first time. And I’d really like you to be able to play with us – it’d be good to have someone my own age there, as well. Most of the others are a year or two younger than me.”
Neil thought about that. Surely if the others were mostly younger, there’d be even less chance of him losing? And he liked Kam, too – it’d be fun to play football with him at weekends…
“Suppose I said yes,” he said. “Would you swear not to tell anyone? And would you promise not to take the piss out of me?”
“Of course,” said Kam, solemnly.
“Well… okay, then.”
“Great! So, do you know anywhere private?”
“I don’t want to risk doing it in school. I mean, there are probably some places that would be fairly safe, but the way my luck works the caretaker would probably choose that moment to come and check the light bulbs, or something. You could come to my house after school, but I live in Boarmead, and I suppose that’s a bit far for you to come.”
“I only live a quarter of a mile away,” said Kam. “You could come round to my house if you want. My brother usually goes to his friend’s place after school, and if he is at home I can just chuck him out of the bedroom for five minutes.”
So when the school day finished Neil accompanied Kam back to his house. They went straight upstairs and closed the bedroom door. Kam hung his blazer up in the wardrobe and sat down on his bed.
“Go on, then,” he invited.
“Look, I’m not sure about this…”
“Well, it’d be a bit pointless to walk all the way round here and then to chicken out,” said Kam.
“I suppose… but… look, if you laugh at me, I’ll kill you, okay?”
“I won’t laugh. Just get on with it.”
Slowly Neil began to get undressed. He hesitated when he got to his pants, and seemed on the point of changing his mind again, but then he took a deep breath and removed them. Then he turned to face Kam, a nervous expression on his face.
Neil was a good-looking boy: he was maybe an inch or so taller than Kam, with thick, light brown wavy hair, blue eyes and an attractive smile, though that at least was temporarily absent. His body was pale and a bit on the skinny side, but there was nothing wrong with his genitals, so far as Kam could tell: he had a nice set, his penis still pale in colour, but with a few sparse hairs around the base attesting to the advance of puberty. His balls were a good size, too.
“What were you worried about?” asked Kam. “There’s nothing wrong with you at all. You look good.”
“You reckon?” asked Neil, meeting his eyes for the first time since removing his clothes.
“Seriously. Nobody would laugh at you if they saw you stripped. They might be jealous, but they certainly wouldn’t laugh.”
“Jealous? Really? You don’t think… well… that it looks weird?”
“Bloody hell, no. It looks nice, Neil. Come here.”
Neil came and stood in front of him.
“You’re getting some nice hairs, look,” said Kam, and he reached out a finger and stroked the little pubes. Neil gave a gasp, but managed not to flinch away.
“And I bet it’s pretty big when it goes stiff, too,” Kam went on.
“Not really,” said Neil. It’s only about four and a half.”
“That’s not bad. Let’s see,” said Kam, and he took hold of his friend’s balls in his left hand and started to stroke the penis with his right, and immediately Neil’s body started to react.
This felt absolutely amazing to Neil, who was struggling with a number of different emotions. To start with, there was still a residue of shame at being naked, even though Kam had assured him that he had nothing to be ashamed about. Against that there was the astonishing physical sensation of being handled in such a personal way by another boy. He knew that he would never have allowed any other boy to even see him undressed, far less actually touch him, but Kam was… different, somehow. Neil really liked him, which he supposed was perfectly okay; but he also thought about him physically, which he was pretty sure was not okay. He thought Kam was amazingly good-looking, and he had sometimes fantasized about undressing him to see what he looked like naked. Since Kam kept his shorts on in the shower after football, Neil had never seen him uncovered.
Swiftly his penis rose to its full four and a half inches, but Kam didn’t stop stroking it. Nor did Neil want him to, now: it felt amazing. After another thirty seconds or so Kam stopped stroking and carefully retracted Neil’s foreskin, looking with interest at the shiny head revealed beneath it. Then he let go and stared at the twitching, throbbing organ.
“Neil, that looks really good,” he said. “There is absolutely no way that you should be ashamed of that: it’s big, and it’s hard, and it looks brilliant.”
“Do you really think so?”
“Sure.” Kam got up and came and stood behind him, reaching round and taking hold of his friend’s erection once more. Neil leaned back against him, and Kam put his other arm round his waist.
“Are you… that is, do… do you want to rub it for me?” asked Neil.
“Do you want me to?”
“Yes, please,” said Neil, all shame having by now fled far away.
“Okay.” And Kam began to rub his friend’s penis steadily. Neil groaned in pleasure and leaned back again, and he was delighted to feel something hard pressing against his bottom, proving that Kam was enjoying this as much as he was.
It didn’t take long: in less than a minute Neil gasped and tensed up, shooting a couple of spurts of almost colourless liquid onto the floor. Kam squeezed the last drop out and let go, and then took a tissue from the packet beside the bed and handed it to Neil, before using a couple more to blot up the small amount of liquid on the carpet.
Now Neil felt strange, only this wasn’t a nice strange: now he felt awkward and ashamed of his nakedness. He dried the tip of his penis quickly and grabbed his pants, pulling them on as fast as he could. Only when he was fully dressed once more did he feel a little less uncomfortable.
“We shouldn’t have done that,” he mumbled.
“Why not? I thought it was fun. And it was your idea for me to do that to you.”
“I know, but I shouldn’t have asked you. Look, I’ve got to go…”
“No, you haven’t, not yet. Look, it’s okay, Neil: I’m glad we did that. I enjoyed it. I think you look really nice undressed, and you’ve got a nice… you know, too. And I swear I’m not going to tell anyone about it, so nobody’s going to laugh at you. You’re not mad at me, are you?”
Neil shook his head. By now he felt on the verge of tears, though he couldn’t have said why – after all, he had enjoyed it too…but somehow now he felt… well, wrong, somehow.
“Look, I’m really sorry if you didn’t really want me to do that,” Kam went on. “’I don’t want it to mess up us being friends, okay?”
“It’s not your fault,” said Neil. “I did want you to. I just feel all weird about it now, that’s all.”
“Well, you shouldn’t. I really like you, Neil, okay, and I want us to stay friends. We don’t have to do anything like that ever again if you don’t want, and I promise I won’t even mention it again either if you don’t want me to. All right?”
Neil nodded, and managed to smile. “Right,” he said. “Look, I really have got to go, Kam, or I’ll be late for tea. I’ll see you tomorrow – and don’t forget to bring your ball to school!”
And he left the house and headed for the bus stop. He was starting to feel a little better about what had happened, but he still wasn’t sure if he’d want to do it again…
Across town at the Grove school during that same Monday lunch break, Bilal found Tony in the playground and took him to one side.
“Is there something wrong with Jeremy?” he asked.
“What, apart from having an arsehole for a step-father? No, I don’t think so. Why?”
“He’s been acting funny all day. A couple of times I’ve caught him looking at me, and when he sees that I’ve noticed he looks away in a hurry. And I’m sure he went all red the second time. Are you sure I haven’t done something to upset him?”
“I don’t think so. He hasn’t said anything to me, anyway. Why, do you think you’ve done something wrong?”
Bilal shook his head. “No, but… face it, Tony, it’s pretty much my fault that he keeps getting into trouble with Adolf. If I was white…”
“Don’t be so bloody stupid,” said Tony. “If you were white you wouldn’t be you. Anyway, it’s certainly not your fault that Jeremy keeps getting put in the spare room, any more than it’s Kam’s, or Awais’s, or Uzzy’s – or mine, for having long hair. The only person whose fault it is is Adolf. Okay, maybe if Jeremy could learn to keep his lip buttoned it would help, but it’d be stupid to blame him for sticking up for us. Anyway, if he really thought it was your fault he wouldn’t want to be friends any more, would he? And I’m bloody sure he still wants to be friends. Aren’t you?”
“Well, yes… but…” He shrugged. “I suppose I’m imagining it, then.”
“Of course you are. Look, go and ask him to his face – then you’ll find out for certain, won’t you?”
Bilal had been holding back from doing that in case he discovered that his fears were based in fact, and that Jeremy really didn’t want to be friends any more. But he realised that Tony was right, and that it would be a lot better to talk to Jeremy himself and find out for certain what he thought. So he headed off across the playground, and Tony trailed along after him, until they found Jeremy sitting in a corner by the gym, trying to learn his French vocabulary for that afternoon’s test.
“Bilal!” exclaimed Jeremy, and then he coloured and looked quickly down into his book.
“See?” said Bilal over his shoulder, and Tony nodded slowly.
“See what?” asked Jeremy.
“You’re treating me all funny,” Bilal accused him. “Every time I talk to you you seem to want to look the other way. And I was wondering… have I done something wrong?”
“No! God, no, Bilal, of course you haven’t!”
“Oh. Because I thought…well, maybe you’re fed up with having to argue with Adolf about being friends with me, that’s all.”
Jeremy jumped to his feet. “Don’t ever think that!” he shouted. “Nothing’s going to stop me wanting to be friends with you, and certainly not that idiot I live with. I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here, Bilal… I don’t think I could…”
He realised what he was saying and managed to shut up before he could add the give-away words ‘live without you’. Instead he swallowed and went on, “I don’t want anything to stop us being friends, Bilal, OK? It’s having really good friends like you two that keeps me going when Adolf’s driving me nuts. I need you, okay?”
“Okay, said Bilal, and Tony nodded. Jeremy looked at them, wondering if either of them had caught any hint of his barely-suppressed real feelings, but Tony simply stepped forward and put his arm round Jeremy’s shoulders, and that made it OK for Jeremy to put his other arm round Bilal and pull him into a three-way hug. Two boys hugging each other in an all-boys school would be sure to attract unwelcome comments, but when three go into a huddle people seem to think they’re just plotting mischief and let it go without saying anything.
They sat down together against the wall and tested each other on their French vocabulary, and by the time the bell went Bilal seemed completely relaxed once more. But Jeremy realised that he would have to be extremely careful in future if he was going to avoid raising suspicions in his friends’ minds. He seriously needed to find someone to give him some advice…
Well, Miguel's found himself a like-minded friend, though Kam's relationship with Neil looks slightly shakier at this point...and Jeremy's no further forward in his search for some helpful advice. In the next chapter we'll get a chance to catch up with Simeon and Usman...
The mail address is still email@example.com and I am as keen as ever to find out what you think. Comments, advice and suggestions will be gratefully received.
Copyright 2008: all rights reserved. Please do not reprint, repost or otherwise reproduce this or any part thereof anywhere without my written permission.